Ride the last surviving locomotive of the ET&WNC Railroad
Locomotive Number 12 is known by most people by its nickname, “Tweetsie,” which stands for the sharp sound its whistle makes. That Tweetsie whistle inspired the name for Western North Carolina’s original family theme park, Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, which has traditionally been an essential part of a summer vacation to Western North Carolina. But Tweetsie’s most unique feature is that it is the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC). “Tweetsie” has a remarkable timeline. It was built in 1917 by Baldwin Locomotive Works and ran the ET&WNC line from Tennessee to Boone from 1919 to 1940 before being sent to Virginia. On May 20, 1956, North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges proclaimed “Tweetsie Homecoming Day” as the 80-ton locomotive returned to the state for refurbishing. In 1957, Tweetsie made its first North Carolina tourist run and Tweetsie Railroad was born. Other attractions soon followed as the theme park expanded and Tweetsie was added to the National Register of Historic Places on its 75th birthday in 1992. Tweetsie Railroad’s renowned Steam Locomotive Shop, which services steam locomotives from parks, attractions and museums across North America, rebuilt Tweetsie to its original condition in 1996. Visitors can ride Tweetsie every day as the engine takes passengers for a three-mile “wild west” journey through the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Tweetsie Railroad also hosts Thomas the Tank Engine every year, and features an Annual Railroad Heritage Weekend and Ghost Train Halloween Festival.
Tweetsie Railroad, Tweetsie Railroad Road, Blowing Rock, NCGet Directions
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